The Costume Institute's fall 2023 exhibition will explore the creativity and artistic legacy of women fashion designers from The Met’s permanent collection, tracing a lineage of makers from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day by highlighting celebrated designers, new voices, and forgotten histories alike.
Women Dressing Women will feature the work of over seventy womenswear designers, spanning ca. 1910 to today, including French haute couture from houses such as Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Madeleine Vionnet, to American makers like Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, and Isabel Toledo, along with contemporary designs by Iris van Herpen, Rei Kawakubo, Anifa Mvuemba, and Simone Rocha.
A catalogue, published by The Met and distributed by Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition.
The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by Morgan Stanley.
In the words of Anifa Mvueumba: “When I stopped trying to fit into an industry that unfortunately wasn’t ready to embrace me, I quickly began to see milestones of success.” She introduced the “Pink Label Congo” collection during one such pivotal moment, following the cancellation of her New York runway debut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mvuemba utilized lockdown to create a virtual presentation that was the first of its kind, digitally rendered and launched via Instagram, featuring garments animated by invisible bodies beneath. Her highly symbolic “Kinshasa” dress, featured inWomen Dressing Women, references the collection’s dedication to African seamstresses and draws its colors from the Congolese flag, the hues emblematic of suffering (red), peace (blue), and hope (yellow).
Hanifa runway presentation excerpt, May 2020 can be seen on YouTube